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Subject: Weakness of Stonehenge rss

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J C
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Our group has been playing with the new wonders expansion pack and we have been finding the stonehenge board to be very underwhelming.

It gives you points for each stone resource you have in brown cards, however, the resource costs for your wonders don't include stone. This means that you either have to build relatively useless stone resource cards just to squeeze a couple points out of that wonder section or score a lousy 1-2 points accidentally while you are building your other resources.

We have proposed a couple changes to this board to make it more viable/interesting.

1) Change all the bricks (clay) required for wonders to be stones, creating a synergy between building resources for your wonders and the points gained from those stone dependent stages. I don't think this would be overpowered since you are likely to only get 3-4 stones making one side worth 3-4 points for the first stage and the other being 6-8 points for the final stage. These seem in-line with other boards and makes WAY more sense for STONEhenge to gather stone...

2) Change these to gain points from your neighbors stone as well. Either a left/right arrow or a left/down/right arrow. This would be much more variable since most points will be determined by your neighbors but at least you have a chance to get more.


Anyone else have issues with this board? Are we crazy? Any other ideas for variants?
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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In what universe are Stone "relatively worthless"? If you're doing any sort of resource-based strategy you'd already be accumulating some Stone anyway.

This board can be played two ways, one is a Big Resource strategy, the other is you just build the first two stages and pursue something else. If you stop at one Ore, one Papyrus and three Bricks, you get almost as many points as someone pursuing a 3-stages A-side strategy (8 points instead of 10) with the drawback of no 2nd stage ability but with a bonus of having to build one less stage (so that's one more card played in front of you instead).

If you do pursue the third stage, if you have one Stone it makes it a regular A-side without ability, which is quite subpar. Question is how many Stone you think it needs to break even or do more points than someone can do with their stage 2. Also, if you do it with 2 Stone I expect you want to spend an Age 2 play rather than an Age 3 one on it.
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Ryan Davis
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First impression of my group was that yeah, Stonehenge A is really weak. I think a house rule might be in order here.
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Chris
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Everyone in my group loved the idea of Stonehenge, but everyone also finds it terribly weak.
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Gleb Semenjuk
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Stone is a comparably rare resource that is needed for many strong buildings. So, blocking others supply of stone is either money or limiting their possibilities...
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David Short
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I own the Wonder Pack, but haven't had the pleasure of playing with it yet. However, just from reading the rules I did get a strange feeling regarding Stonehenge. Seems like it would be extremely weak.

Side A:
You need 7 resources (that are NOT stone) just to build the Last Stage, which activates the ability to score your Stone cards (if you have any). Ouch.

Side B:
You need 3 resources (that are NOT stone) to build the 1st Stage. But to take full advantage of the Wonder and build the Last Stage, you need 7 resources that are not stone.

Of course, some of these resources can come from neighbors, but the more likely scenario is that your neighbors will be denying you any Stone Cards in the first place.

Sigh... hopefully it isn't as bad as it appears.
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Dano
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On a related note, try not to sit next to Mannekin Pis side A if you're playing Stonehenge. They pretty much take everything you need.
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alex devito
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ryansdavis wrote:
First impression of my group was that yeah, Stonehenge A is really weak. I think a house rule might be in order here.


I agree, any suggestions? Maybe include neighbors stone, increase the point value by 1, or maybe include total stone possibly produce to include yellow cards and the wonder.
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John Halko
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We have a house rule that you get the bonus for both your stone as well as your neighbors' stone. This has improved play with the wonder. We've had 4 sessions with these rules and it has helped the balance.
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Chris O
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I house rule that ALL sources of stone you have count for you, including the yellow card that gives a choice between the brown resources, and also the black card that allows you to double the production of one resource symbol. This gives a max possible stone output of 7 stones (stone, stone/brick, stone/ore, stone/wood, double stone, yellow card, black card), which probably would never happen.
 
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Tom Servo
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Add me to the group that finds this wonder board puzzling. I keep thinking I am missing something that makes Stonehenge better than it first appears, but I have been unable to figure it out so far. My feeling is that the number of turns I would need to spend playing resource cards would not be worth the victory point payoff at the end.

Has anyone tried making the stone worth three instead of two? Would that be too powerful? Some of the other ideas presented above seem like good possibilities as well. Perhaps a poll is in order?

Poll
What is the best way to house rule the Stonehenge wonder, if you do so at all?
I do not. The wonder is fine as printed.
I change resources needed to build the wonder stages to stone resources.
I score three points for every stone instead of two.
I allow all sources of stone (including yellow and black cards) to be scored.
I score all of my stone resources as well as those belonging to both neighbors.
      78 answers
Poll created by rhpenland


Thanks!
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David Short
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dshortdesign wrote:
I own the Wonder Pack, but haven't had the pleasure of playing with it yet. However, just from reading the rules I did get a strange feeling regarding Stonehenge. Seems like it would be extremely weak.

Side A:
You need 7 resources (that are NOT stone) just to build the Last Stage, which activates the ability to score your Stone cards (if you have any). Ouch.

Side B:
You need 3 resources (that are NOT stone) to build the 1st Stage. But to take full advantage of the Wonder and build the Last Stage, you need 7 resources that are not stone.

Of course, some of these resources can come from neighbors, but the more likely scenario is that your neighbors will be denying you any Stone Cards in the first place.

Sigh... hopefully it isn't as bad as it appears.

I've now played this a couple of times and it's as bad as I had feared. soblue

Why would my neighbors let me have Stone cards? This is the question that keeps tearing at me. Why would they? They need stone to build - everyone does in 7 Wonders. So, even if I didn't have Stonehenge they might be drafting the stone cards, but now they have an added incentive to hate-draft any stone cards that may come my way.

The only way I see this working is if this wonder scores neighbor stones as well. Perhaps that would be overpowered (perhaps not), but it certainly wouldn't be worse than the current situation.

Very confused by this wonder.
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Jacek Deimer
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dshortdesign wrote:
dshortdesign wrote:
I own the Wonder Pack, but haven't had the pleasure of playing with it yet. However, just from reading the rules I did get a strange feeling regarding Stonehenge. Seems like it would be extremely weak.

Side A:
You need 7 resources (that are NOT stone) just to build the Last Stage, which activates the ability to score your Stone cards (if you have any). Ouch.

Side B:
You need 3 resources (that are NOT stone) to build the 1st Stage. But to take full advantage of the Wonder and build the Last Stage, you need 7 resources that are not stone.

Of course, some of these resources can come from neighbors, but the more likely scenario is that your neighbors will be denying you any Stone Cards in the first place.

Sigh... hopefully it isn't as bad as it appears.

I've now played this a couple of times and it's as bad as I had feared. soblue

Why would my neighbors let me have Stone cards? This is the question that keeps tearing at me. Why would they? They need stone to build - everyone does in 7 Wonders. So, even if I didn't have Stonehenge they might be drafting the stone cards, but now they have an added incentive to hate-draft any stone cards that may come my way.

The only way I see this working is if this wonder scores neighbor stones as well. Perhaps that would be overpowered (perhaps not), but it certainly wouldn't be worse than the current situation.

Very confused by this wonder.


I haven't played it, but after just reading rulebook, I had same feelings here, that it will be very hard to get good score from this wonder.

On the other hand I believe designer when he states that it took a lot of time to playtest and balance Wonderpack.

So, what's going on?

For me the most reasonable explanation is that future expansions might have been taken under consideration when balancing Stonehange. We know that desinger works on 2-3 future expansions at the moment. From last years playtest report, we know that one of them (Armada) included new way to obtain resources: resource tokens, that worker more or less like basic resource cards.

I hope this is a right line of thinking and Stonehange turns out to be on par with other wonders.
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David Short
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Reid666 wrote:
dshortdesign wrote:
dshortdesign wrote:
I own the Wonder Pack, but haven't had the pleasure of playing with it yet. However, just from reading the rules I did get a strange feeling regarding Stonehenge. Seems like it would be extremely weak.

Side A:
You need 7 resources (that are NOT stone) just to build the Last Stage, which activates the ability to score your Stone cards (if you have any). Ouch.

Side B:
You need 3 resources (that are NOT stone) to build the 1st Stage. But to take full advantage of the Wonder and build the Last Stage, you need 7 resources that are not stone.

Of course, some of these resources can come from neighbors, but the more likely scenario is that your neighbors will be denying you any Stone Cards in the first place.

Sigh... hopefully it isn't as bad as it appears.

I've now played this a couple of times and it's as bad as I had feared. soblue

Why would my neighbors let me have Stone cards? This is the question that keeps tearing at me. Why would they? They need stone to build - everyone does in 7 Wonders. So, even if I didn't have Stonehenge they might be drafting the stone cards, but now they have an added incentive to hate-draft any stone cards that may come my way.

The only way I see this working is if this wonder scores neighbor stones as well. Perhaps that would be overpowered (perhaps not), but it certainly wouldn't be worse than the current situation.

Very confused by this wonder.


I haven't played it, but after just reading rulebook, I had same feelings here, that it will be very hard to get good score from this wonder.

On the other hand I believe designer when he states that it took a lot of time to playtest and balance Wonderpack.

So, what's going on?

For me the most reasonable explanation is that future expansions might have been taken under consideration when balancing Stonehange. We know that desinger works on 2-3 future expansions at the moment. From last years playtest report, we know that one of them (Armada) included new way to obtain resources: resource tokens, that worker more or less like basic resource cards.

I hope this is a right line of thunking and Stonehange turns out to be on par with other wonders.

I share your hope. I'm a big 7 Wonders fan and I'm excited for future expansions, especially if they help balance Stonehenge.
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Jade Youngblood
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I have found this wonder to be of very poor design. In the games I have had with it, it has faired very poorly.

It scores off of stone, but needs no stone for its upgrades...and requires way to much of everything to achieve the upgrade.
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Orion Anderson
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Stonehenge A is very, very similar to Giza A. Both give nothing but victory points, both start 3/5, and both require you to get a bunch of stone to make the third stage worthwhile.

Giza's third stage is worth 7 points and costs 4 stone. If you have 4 stone worth of brown cards in play, then Stonehenge is marginally more effective with 8 points. This is doable -- single stone, double stone, and a split with stone -- but difficult. I find it very difficult to imagine getting more than 8 points from Stonehenge, and even if I managed to get 10 or 12 I don't think the cost would be worth it. Giza starts with 1 stone, and can use the Caravansery (or equivalent expansion card) and commerce to make up the rest. This is way more forgiving while being almost as good.

The only thing Stonehenge has going for it is very forgiving build costs for stages 1 and 2. Most wonders require a double resource for stage 1. Stonehenge doesn't, which makes it far more likely that you can build the first stage during the first age, if you so desire. That can be a big deal as the last couple of turns of age 1 can be pretty disappointing. The second stage is more difficult than many of the basic wonders, but easier than any of the wonders that require a triple, including good old Giza.

Also, I sometimes feel that Bauza may consider Wood to be a superior starting resource. I'm not entirely sure why.

EDIT: Stonehenge B is entirely without redeeming value, as far as I can tell.
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Günter Immeyer
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Another aspect you need to consider when rating the Stonehenge wonder is the number of players: we play a lot of 3-player games, and trying to achieve 8 points with Stonehenge's stage 3 (as Orion suggests) is quite a hard, or rather unlikely to accomplish task then! Unless you already have that double stone card in your 7-card hand at the start of age 2, one of the other players will surely either use the card him-/herself or dispose of it.

With 4 or more players, it is way easier, though (and thus Stonehenge A much stronger), because there will be two double stone cards in play then (age 2).

Overall, we have found Stonehenge to clearly be one of the (if not the) weakest wonder(s) in 3-player games and basically a normal, average/balanced wonder in 4+ player games (although it tends to become weaker again at 6 or 7 participating players).

But nevertheless, Stonehenge is not considered to be an "automatic loser" in our game group: since you're never forced to build your wonder stages at all, you can still be a competitor and win games by pursuing some completely different strategy and having 3 more opportunities to play stronger cards (especially in age 3) than everybody else... devil
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Vinicius H. Rodrigues
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Stage 1 : This Stage grants 1 coin for each Stone resource symbol present on the players' brown cards when it is built. At the end of the game, this Stage scores 1 victory point for each Stone resource symbol present on the players' brown cards.

... in all players ...

believe in typo, here it worked!
 
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I've been meaning to post in this thread for a while, here it comes finally.

I think it is really obvious that Stonehenge is too weak. I am convinced that it is the weakest published wonder board, at least the one for which it is most obvious:
This becomes particularly clear for its A side when you compare it with Gizah A. I simply can't see any way arguing around that, although I really looked and wanted to find something to redeem Stonehenge. But there just doesn't seem to be any meaningful enough advantage compared to Gizah A to set off the disadvantages that you need considerably more resources to make it score about as well (by collecting 3 or 4 Stones on brown cards for 14 or 16 VP with all three stages) and the risk of just not getting your hands on enough Stones.
Stonehenge's B side is considerably too weak as well judging by my experience of how many points you can expect on average from the second stage - not enough considering how particularly raw material hungry the B side is. You also have to keep in mind that it is much harder to use the stage as bailout for a weak hand as one would usually want, one has to have the right color card on that dud hand as well. Dud hands become much more probable at the end of the age with few cards in hand, but few cards in hand also mean that having the right color among them becomes much less likely.

The variant to improve Stonehenge that looks most fitting to me for now (pre-Babel) is that the 3rd stage of side A and the 1st stage of side B score for the maximum number of Stones you can produce in a turn *without your neighbours*.

This is similar to the proposal above to include yellow and black cards (for which I have therefore voted in the poll), but it also counts the leader Bilkis.
Although Bilkis feels somewhat commerce-like, you don't buy from your neighbors, which seems like a valid reason to treat her differently in my opinion.
Which brings up the question if you need to pay a coin when counting Bilkis, I would say you needn't. One the one hand because I think Stonehenge is still relatively weak even with the house rule and on the other hand because it would seem to get rather too complicated in case of the 1st stage of side B from which you benefit at two points in time.

To quickly specify the yellow and black cards: There is only one relevant yellow card, the Caravansery. There are two black cards that can be relevant, Secret Warehouse and Black Market - but the situations in which Black Market would be relevant seem to be very rare in practice, usually only the Secret Warehouse should matter.

With this change, I think Stonehenge is still at the low end of wonder power on average (particularly when playing without Cities or Leaders), but at least it isn't that clear anymore. With Cities and Leaders (and at least 4 players), it seems like it can occasionally become a strong wonder if you are lucky enough with the cards you draw.

My reason for preferring this variant to the others that have been proposed in this thread is that it doesn't contradict the printed wonder board.
I am not too fond of house rules in general and usually only use one when there seems to be a very good reason for it. Which seems to be the case here, the official rules just feel too unfair for the unlucky guy who draws Stonehenge otherwise. But I'd still like to change the official rules as "carefully" as possible.
This rule is the only of the proposed variants that doesn't contradict the printed wonder. The wonder doesn't show any brown with the Stone icon, we just know from the rulesheet that only brown cards are supposed to be scored. So judging from the iconography, the house rule might actually be the official rule.
It would even be possible to change the official rule to it easily just by changing the downloadable PDF of the rulesheet, if designer/publisher can be convinced to do so.

Messianic wrote:
I house rule that ALL sources of stone you have count for you, including the yellow card that gives a choice between the brown resources, and also the black card that allows you to double the production of one resource symbol. This gives a max possible stone output of 7 stones (stone, stone/brick, stone/ore, stone/wood, double stone, yellow card, black card), which probably would never happen.


That's actually a maximum of 8 Stones, not 7, the double Stone card counts double. With Bilkis, it's a maximum of 9 Stones.
(But as you've already implied it is next to impossible in practice to ever reach that.)

Reid666 wrote:

For me the most reasonable explanation is that future expansions might have been taken under consideration when balancing Stonehange. We know that desinger works on 2-3 future expansions at the moment. From last years playtest report, we know that one of them (Armada) included new way to obtain resources: resource tokens, that worker more or less like basic resource cards.

I hope this is a right line of thinking and Stonehange turns out to be on par with other wonders.


Both sides of Stonehenge as written should indeed get *a little* stronger with the announced Babel expansion, because the taxes the second part of it introduces mean there is a potential way to put as many as 4 Stones to another use. But still, this doesn't seem enough to make Stonehenge competitive with the other wonders (after all, the other wonders which need four raw materials of one sort like Gizah get stronger as well).

If the variant house rule is worded to include Stones from the law cards from the first part of the expansion (which my proposal seems to do), that might improve Stonehenge's strength quite a bit, maybe too much - we'll have to wait for Babel's details for that. In any case, the infinite production law shown in the preview video would present a problem (if it not only exists for Wood, but also for Stone) and would need to be addressed in the house rule.

If Armada or some other expansion includes new ways to obtain Stones, that would actually make Stonehenge as written weaker unless they are new brown cards (which seems very unlikely to me). After all, Stonehenge as written explicitly only counts Stones from brown cards, so it wouldn't count Stones from new sources. But having Stones from new sources would make it less attractive to collect the brown cards with Stones you need to score with Stonehenge's wonder stages.

In any case, it doesn't sound like a particularly good idea to deliberatly design wonders that only become balanced if you add in some possible future expansion(s). (Which is why I doubt this is what happened here...)

EDIT: Elaborated on Stonehenge's B side a little more and specified the relevant yellow and black cards.
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Adas Labai
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Why does everyone want to get more than 10 VP for A side of wonder??? I think that 3-th stage of a wonder is easy enough to build couse almost every other wonder needs wood for first 1-st or 2-nd stages to build (so neighbours probably will have some wood) + u may have tranding post or/and caravansery (i'm not even talking about black cards what can let u build wonder for free, doubles recources and so on or leader who lets build it for 1 recourse less). + anyway u'll be able to play at least 1 or 2 brown cards with stone on them. So getting 10 or 12 VP from fully finished A side wonder is fair enough.
 
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Adaslabai wrote:
So getting 10 or 12 VP from fully finished A side wonder is fair enough.


It's 3-5 VP less than Gizah A without being easier to build IMO and 3-5 VP is a lot when comparing wonders. It can easily mean the difference between first and last place in close games.
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Kevin Lee
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jjhalko wrote:
We have a house rule that you get the bonus for both your stone as well as your neighbors' stone. This has improved play with the wonder. We've had 4 sessions with these rules and it has helped the balance.


We've done this as well. Makes it much more balanced.
 
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Simon Maynard
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I've just acquired the Wonder Pack but haven't played with it yet. It does seem that Stonehenge is underpowered and that some re-balancing is needed but it seems to me that awarding the owner the full two points for every stone resource in their neighbour's cities is a bit excessive.

For instance, in a three player game, that's every stone resource played. The Stonehenge player need not even worry about getting any stone themselves.

So I thought that a better option might be to only grant 1 point for every neighbour's stone. That way there is still an incentive to acquire stone yourself but weakens your neighbour's incentive to discard (or bury) a stone resource card rather than pass it on to you. I think I will try it that way the first time I play it, anyway.
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Jim S
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Your neighbors should happily let you build excess stone because it will get you hardly any points compared to other cards you're passing up. The double stone is the best but even on side B it only delivers 4 points IF you invest enough to build stage 3. Stonehenge's greatest strength is that no one else should be scared of it so maybe they'll make mistakes but let's face it; it's hard to underestimate.

The suggestion of not building A3 makes sense.

We just discussed making it 2 gold, 2vp for both sides but I also like the change brick to stone option and will sticker my board to show this.
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Greg Gresik
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Yep - we have the Wonder Pack - and I played Stonhenge. It has the worst Wonder-synergy in the game. It is completely counter-intuitive. At the end, we all wondered aloud if the 3 ore for Stage 1 was a misprint on the board and should have been 3 Stone.

We actually are taking Stonhenge out of circulation for play until we can come up with a house rule that makes it competitive with other Wonders. It has never come closer than 20 point to the next lowest score in any of our games.

I like some of the ideas in this thread - please keep them coming!
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